How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget
By Rosa Lee, The Bridal Guide

Every girl dreams of her wedding day surrounded by beautiful flowers, elegant gowns, and delicious food. But with the recession, you may find yourself in a financial bind if you don’t prepare a budget. With the right resources and determination, you will have a beautiful and elegant wedding that won’t empty your savings account.

Make a Budget
You need to itemize all of the components of your wedding and distribute a percentile to them in relation to your total wedding cost. For instance:

Total Wedding Budget*

  1. Reception (food)                     45%
  2. Photography/Video                 10%
  3. Flowers                                   10%
  4. Ceremony                                 7%
  5. Entertainment                           5%
  6. Attire                                       5%
  7. Cake                                          2%
  8. Transportation                          2%
  9. Invitations                                 2%
  10. Miscellaneous                         12%

*Percentages provided by weddinggarden.com.

Don’t forget to calculate gratuity and taxes.

Do Your Research
Conducting some research on the different options for each aspect of your wedding is crucial. For example, the reception is almost half of your total wedding budget. Ask family and friends if you can use their spacious backyard at their lake house to use as the location for your reception. Or you can check out your local church, local restaurants and hotel banquet facilities. 

People say that the greatest memories of a wedding are found in the photos. If this is true and your budget is slim, you can still use a professional photographer to capture your perfect day and photo memorabilia. Plus place disposable cameras at each table, allowing your guests to participate and it helps you. It’s an easy and stress-free way of getting extra pictures of your wedding day! The guests get to have fun too!

Most people would immediately go to a fancy florist for their wedding flowers, but how much would that cost?  An alternative, budget-friendly solution is to shop at your local grocery store and compile your own bouquets. It may be time-consuming, but you can also ask your friends for help.

Entertainment can easily empty your wallet. Instead of hiring a well-known DJ, ask your family and friends if they want to be in charge of the music. If you know some people who are musically-inclined, ask them to join together to play music during the ceremony and/or reception. If not, ask a loved one to be in charge of handling your iTunes playlist. 

Looking good doesn’t require big bills. Try looking online for wedding gown and tuxedo bargains, or wearing a family member’s or friend’s wedding gown is free and a meaningful tradition.

Wedding cakes can get quite pricey because of all the special garnish and detail that go with it. However, you may save a lot of money by shopping a grocery store instead of a bakery. If you’re looking to save even more, ask a friend to help you bake your cake or cupcake tree.

Stretch limos and cab drivers to escort you to and from your wedding, while very efficient, can be costly. For a cheaper alternative, ask a family member or friend with a roomy, clean car to drive you.

Wedding invitations are essential because it further describes your personality. Use your creative side, and make your own invitations by using photo paper, ink, and invitation paper.

All in all, just have fun with it! The more you personalize your wedding, the more special it will be in the end.

Sticking to a budget and improvising will not only save you money in the long run, but keep you organized and stress-free. The best day of your life doesn’t have to be the most expensive, too!

Note: This article does not reflect the opinion of The Bridal Guide. The goal is merely to offer alternative ideas for those brides dealing with a very tight wedding budget. June 2009

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